Service discovery for Prometheus using Docker
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Prommer is an application for demo purposes for my Monitoring with Prometheus blog post.

A silly contraction between Prometheus and Docker

Prommer is a simple target discovery service for Prometheus using Docker. It listens to Docker events to detect changes. Only containers that are labeled with a certain configurable label will be used as a Prometheus target. Prommer automatically writes these labeled containers as target groups to a JSON file. This JSON file can be used for Prometheus' scrape configuration for dynamic target discovery.

Prommer (currently) is only for a single host and not really tested. Definitely do not use this in production.

Why did I create this then, you ask? I wanted a very simple solution for service discovery for a Prometheus demo purposes on a single host. I did not want to distract users with other complex service discovery setups like etcd and service registration agents. I also wanted to use this to learn Go, so this is my first Go application. Should you dare to look inside the source code, be warned!


Starting Prommer is easy. All flags are optional.

$ prommer [-target-file=<target-file>] [-monitoring-label=<label-name>]

The -target-file flag is the location where the JSON file will be written. The default value is /etc/prometheus/target-groups.json.

The -monitoring-label flag is the label that will be used to filter containers. The default value is prometheus-target.

Prometheus must be configured to use the target groups JSON file. You must set the file_sd_configs field for the Prometheus scrape job to use the target groups. Example:

  - job_name: 'prommer-job'
    scrape_interval: 5s
    - names: ['/etc/prometheus/target-groups/*.json']

Prommer must be able to listen to the Docker events stream. Therefor it is required to access the Docker daemon. If you use Prommer inside a container (which you should), the container must be mounted with -v /var/run/docker.sock:/var/run/docker.sock:ro. Note that this has certain security risks you must be aware of.

$ docker run -v /var/run/docker.sock:/var/run/docker.sock:ro tomverelst/prommer


  • Figure out what the best way is which solution is tolerable enough to define the port and metrics endpoint per container without crying.
  • Write tests
  • Set up CI with Travis
  • Create and publish minimal Docker image that includes Prommer.
  • Make it work for Docker Swarm so it might actually be useful.
  • Optimize target update mechanism by doing incremental changes using the Docker events stream, instead of requesting all the labeled containers on each change.
  • Become a Go ninja (unlikely) and probably rewrite this whole thing.
  • Think of other possibilities to do Prometheus target discovery.
  • Provide possibility to use a configuration file
  • Make Prommer an industry standard for Prometheus monitoring and take over the world.